Kobe Bryant crash, L.A. sheriff cowl-up collide in court - la times

about a 12 months after los angeles County Deputy Doug Johnson took graphic photos of Kobe Bryant's helicopter crash scene that have been then handed around, he turned into caught up in a further scandal.

Johnson knelt on the head of a handcuffed inmate for a number of minutes — a different incident sheriff's officials tried to preserve quiet because they feared it could deliver "terrible mild" to the Sheriff's branch.

they've turn into two of probably the most extremely publicized scandals in the Sheriff's department during Sheriff Alex Villanueva's time period — and that they're now colliding in the courtroom.

L.A. County lawyers are attempting to block Vanessa Bryant, who is suing the Sheriff's department for negligence and invasion of privateness over the photograph sharing, from introducing the cowl-up of the violent detention by way of Johnson as facts in her trial, which is determined for next month.

The county attorneys are a rguing that the drive incident and canopy-up have "nothing to do with" Bryant's claims. but they noted Bryant's attorneys would no longer comply with exclude questions on it right through the trial. so that they want a decide to decide.

"The incident at the reformatory and LASD's response are absolutely unrelated to the crash scene pictures at situation during this remember," county attorneys wrote in a filing Friday. "The incident is not simplest irrelevant, but additionally extremely inflammatory—referring to one of the crucial contentious concerns in our society, accusations of extreme force by using law enforcement officials."

County attorneys observed in the filing that they called Bryant's legal professionals after the Sheriff's department's handling of Johnson's force incident, first suggested via The instances, grew to be countrywide information and requested in the event that they'd agree now not to elevate it at trial. Bryant's attorneys, who had been unavailable for comment Friday, refused, the filing noted.

In both cases, the Sheriff's branch sought to hold the alleged misconduct below wraps.

Days after the helicopter crash, the Sheriff's department obtained a grievance that a young la County sheriff's deputy was displaying ugly pictures taken on the scene of the tragedy at the Baja California Bar and Grill in Norwalk.

Villanueva via his subordinates ordered the deputies concerned to delete the crash photos instead of opening an investigation into the alleged misconduct. It was now not unless a day after The times first stated on the photo sharing that the Sheriff's department requested an inside affairs investigation, according to internal sheriff's facts attached to a court docket submitting.

Johnson said in a memo to his supervisor that he had a legitimate intent to take the helicopter crash photographs, which he talked about he automatically deleted. portions of h is deposition testimony have been also made public in a court filing in Bryant's case.

He testified that he hiked as much as the crash web page, the place he searched for survivors and taped off the area from hikers. He stated he then took 20 to 30 pictures of the entire site, "documenting every thing," together with serial numbers and victim is still, he testified.

He referred to he didn't believe he ever wrote a document on what he documented. Nor did he ebook the photographs into facts. He texted the pictures to a deputy at the command put up and AirDropped them to a hearth professional.

The photographs unfold from there.

When Johnson become wondered about whether he nonetheless had the cell with which he took the pictures, he said he misplaced it here 12 months whereas playing in Las Vegas.

quickly after the picture sharing grew to be public, Johnson became transferred to the Sheriff's department's court docket features division.

< p>about a yr later, deputies had been conducting events searches of inmates at the San Fernando Courthouse before their courtroom appearances after they advised two inmates to be quiet.

because the pair continued speakme and laughing, Johnson ordered one of them, Enzo Escalante, to cease and face the wall. Escalante, 24, was awaiting trial on distinctive fees, including homicide.

protection video obtained with the aid of The instances shows Johnson jogging closely at the back of Escalante through a hallway before ushering him toward a wall.

Escalante turned round and punched Johnson within the face dissimilar times. Johnson and other deputies then took Escalante to the floor, positioning him face down.

After he was handcuffed, Johnson stored his knee on Escalante's head for 3 minutes.

branch officials had involved at the time concerning the negative publicity that might come from a deputy kneeling on a handcuffed man's head, "given its nature and its similarities to extensively publicized George Floyd use of force," according to an internal file by a commander critical of the cowl-up.

The commander, Allen Castellano, wrote within the July 2021 report that sheriff's officials decided not to pursue crook expenses towards the inmate, who had punched the deputy within the face, to steer clear of drawing attention to the incident. Sheriff's officials waited unless January — essentially a 12 months after the incident — to take the case in opposition t the inmate to prosecutors.

Castellano and other high-rating sheriff's officials have accused Villanueva of orchestrating the cowl-up and lying about it, saying in criminal claims filed towards the county that he watched the video about 5 days after the incident passed off in March 2021.

Villanueva claimed that he didn't see the video except a number of months later, and took instant motion.

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